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Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Tech Transfer

Non-Toxic Ionic Liquid Fuels for Exploration Applications

Completed Technology Project

Project Description

Non-Toxic Ionic Liquid Fuels for Exploration Applications
Challenges arise in the propulsion systems for the new exploration architecture. The currently operational and proven storable hypergolic systems raise toxicity concerns. Because MMH is a carcinogen, measures must be taken to prevent exposure of personnel to the fuel from the time of its synthesis to the time of it neutralization. This extra care translates into increased expense for the mission. Replacing the MMH in the propulsion systems with an equally energetic, sasfer fuel would considerably reduce risk and cost on exploration missions. Ionic liquids offer promising candidates for dense, energetic, and safe rocket fuels. In the proposed work ORBITEC will demonstrate the feasibility of developing hypergolic ionic liquid fuels for propulsion systems used in the Exploration architecture. We will develop one set hypergolic with a storable oxidizer, nitrogen tetroxide (NTO) and one set hypergolic with a cryogenic oxidizer, liquid oxygen (LOX). We will test the hypergolicity and the material properties. The resulting sets of propellants will be ready for performance testing early in the Phase II work to enable achieving a technical readiness level (TRL) of 5 by the end of the Phase II work. More »

Anticipated Benefits

Primary U.S. Work Locations and Key Partners

Technology Transitions

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This is a historic project that was completed before the creation of TechPort on October 1, 2012. Available data has been included. This record may contain less data than currently active projects.